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US bans WeChat

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September 18, 2020 at 5:15 p.m. CDT

The Trump administration announced Friday that it is banning China’s TikTok and WeChat services from mobile app stores beginning late Sunday, an unprecedented move that further unravels the United States’s quickly deteriorating relationship with China.


Administration officials called the bans necessary to protect national security and prevent Beijing from exploiting the apps to collect user data or disseminate propaganda. But the measures drew quick criticism from first-amendment defenders such as the American Civil Liberties Union and even from TikTok rival Instagram.

Current and previous administration officials said they could recall no past example of the U.S. government prohibiting information technology on this scale, a practice more common in authoritarian countries such as China, where Facebook, Google, Twitter and other Western apps are banned.


TikTok has enjoyed explosive growth in the U.S., boasting about 100 million U.S. users on a quarterly basis. WeChat had about 3.3 million monthly active users in the United States as of August, according to analytics provider App Annie.

On Friday, people appeared to be hurrying to download WeChat before the ban sets in. Data provider Sensor Tower said the app climbed to No. 100 Friday afternoon among free iPhone apps in Apple’s U.S. App Store, from No. 1,385 that morning.

The prohibition comes just weeks before a contentious U.S. presidential election in which China has been a frequent target for both President Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden, from discussions of the coronavirus pandemic to technology and trade.


The move also follows months of U.S. action aimed at countering China on multiple fronts, and represents perhaps the starkest sign yet that the United States is abandoning a decades-long policy of engagement with China.




Unwelcome news. WeChat is the main way that I stay in touch with friends in China. This will add a layer of difficulty. If you need to download it or update your version, now would be a good time to get that done. 


Apologies. I just now found the previous thread on this topic. (I no longer spend much time here.) 

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A key paragraph seems to be this one:



As of Sunday for WeChat and Nov. 12 for TikTok, the United States will ban any provision of Internet hosting services, or other network services, that allows the apps to function in the United States.


Welcome to the first brick in the Great Firewall of the USA. Pompeo has already been making noises in that direction.


It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the courts...


(also interesting to note that Nov 12 is after the election, although whether this matters to the TikTok demographic is another question.)


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Wow! I'm sure the people suggesting this have their reasons, but I personally am sad to see this happen. My old roommate is American, and i keep in touch on wehcat!

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I'm glad I'm not in America, but even if I was I'd still use WeChat because it's the most convenient way to stay in touch with my Chinese friends. 


I'd just use a VPN when using WeChat.

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I am curious, for personal communication to use WeChat in the US is it not a case of installing a VPN  the same as others in China might do to view utube?


I would be less wary of what the US might do to someone using WeChat in the US, than what China might do to someone using WhatsApp or utube in China.



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